Royal Philips Electronics has introduced the microTEE, which is claimed to be the world’s smallest transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) transducer for the cardiac imaging of neonatal patients.
The microTEE transducer provides paediatric cardiologists with a diagnostic tool for imaging the hearts of newborn patients.
Philips’s microTEE will be showcased next week at the 20th annual American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) in Washington, DC, and it will be available for sale globally this summer.
TEE is an alternative way to produce echocardiograms of the heart. With a standard echocardiogram, a transducer is placed over the chest wall.
With TEE, the transducer is fed into the esophagus and positioned behind the heart. Once there, the transducer bounces soundwaves off the heart to produce images of the cardiac structures.
Philips claimed that previously available paediatric TEE transducers were so large that it was impossible to image small babies during critical cardiac catheterisation or surgical procedures. As a result, high-risk procedures were done routinely on infant patients without transesophageal echocardiography images available to the surgeon.
‘The microTEE probe is a major advance in our ability to provide intra-operative cardiac imaging in newborn babies and infants,’ said Dr Girish Shirali, director of paediatric echocardiography at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Children’s Hospital. ‘We are delighted with the image quality and the miniaturisation of the probe has already proven invaluable to our paediatric interventionalists in high-risk cath lab procedures. Finally, our smallest and sickest patients can be imaged intra-operatively just like everyone else.’
The microTEE is roughly one third the size of Philips’s previous paediatric TEE transducers and allows physicians to provide the images that they need during interventional procedures on small infants.
While designed for smaller patients, the microTEE is also entering trials for adult patients requiring TEE imaging but who have difficulty tolerating standard TEE probes.
‘We developed the microTEE in order to help even the smallest patients,’ said Anne LeGrand, senior vice-president and general manager of ultrasound for Philips Healthcare. ‘MicroTEE is the latest in a series of industry “firsts” offered on our iE33 premium cardiovascular platform. We continue to invest heavily in the iE33 to provide innovative, validated solutions that fulfil physicians’ needs and provide enhanced patient care.’